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Press Release

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has directed developer to give an undertaking that the firm will cover any losses suffered by five home buyers, who got refund orders for delayed possession last month, till the filing of an appeal with the appellate tribunal.

On September 27, 2018, MahaRERA had ordered the developer to refund the investments of five home buyers – Rahul Bhosale, Hitesh Shah, Riyaz Jetham, Alistair Gomes and Sachin Kadam – who had booked flats in Acropolis project in Virar through a subvention scheme in which buyers paid eight per cent of the flat consideration and the banks paid the remaining 92 per cent. The order was to be executed by the developer within 30 days from the date of the order.

The subvention scheme itself is a very big scam, in this scheme the builder gets almost 95% of the loan amount on signing of the agreement without laying a brick, unlike regular home loan where the bank pays to the builder as per progress of the work, the builder lures the home buyers on promise to pay EMI till he hands over the possession, but when builder fails to construct or give possession on time the liabilities comes on the home buyer and the home buyers becomes defaulter and not the builder, in subvention scheme builder charges 10% more then the market value which the buyer realises on the later stage, subvention scheme is design to cheat home buyers.

The developer approached MahaRERA again on October 11 and got a stay on the order till October 24. On October 24, the matter was heard again, and the developer sought extension of stay on the execution of the judgment till the end of 60-day appeal period, citing financial crunch to pay the decretal amount that needs to be paid before the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal.

According to Section 43 of RERA, the appellant has to deposit 50 per cent of the amount with the tribunal before the appeal can be heard.

During the hearing before MahaRERA member Madhav Kulkarni, Sulaiman Bhimani, who appeared for the home buyers, strongly opposed the stay petition arguing that home buyers will suffer monetary losses since they had purchased the flats with bank loans and are paying EMIs. He argued that Rahul Bhosale, who had taken two bank loans, had received a foreclosure letter from the bank stating that if dues are paid before a cut-off date, he will get a concession of Rs seven lakh. He argued that home buyers will suffer immediate losses if the stay is extended.

Kulkarni then directed the developer to file an undertaking to make good any losses suffered by the home buyers till the end of the 60-day appeal period which ends on November 26. The stay was granted after developer complied with the undertaking.

Sulaiman Bhimani Legal Consultant
Expert RERA & Co-operative Scty Matters
Human and Civil Rights Activist
President Citizens Justice Forum 
9323642081
Sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com

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It is a piece Ashok Malik wrote to explain Rahul Gandhi's stupidity. It ends up improving my estimation of his intelligence. In a rather long winded post "Green means stop", Ashok Malik shows his mastery over words and writing to an objective, but alas little respect for the intelligence of the Supreme Court or people. My summary of it is "But how can they just stop mining? Think of the money! Congress lost election there. Therefore proved greed is right. And oh. NGOs are evil."

The title itself is fascinating. Green means stop. It would probably have been more relevant to the subject matter if it were "Green means stop mining" but the absurdity of implying green indicating a halt works with traffic signals, while green meaning stopping mining is plain common sense, even if you left out all policy, profit or manipulations and just went by before and after photos. I'd think the truncated title was serendipity, but credit must be where due. It is a well crafted title for the goal of the article.

Articles that comment on such issues are a dime a dozen and everyone has their opinion. My irritation with this article is the sneering patronizing, not only of the view it challenges, which is only to be expected - for example this article itself, but of the Supreme Court and the people themselves.

The most important paragraph of the piece (at least to my irritation) is:

The final roadblock came when the environment ministry and the government’s lawyers used a provision under a new forest law, drafted by UPA or more specifically NAC, to seek concurrence of the local community for land acquisition. In his wisdom, a Supreme Court judge agreed. In theory, the concurrence of the local community sounded like a noble idea. In practice what did it amount to?

"In his wisdom, a Supreme Court judge agreed." Really? He means like agreed on a personal basis? And the passive aggressive "in his wisdom" before going on to call that wisdom wrong belongs to an Ekta Kapoor script. Perhaps Ashok Malik is not aware that when a Supreme Court judge gives a judgment, it is THE SUPREME COURT speaking in judgment after considered evaluation of the matter, not an individual opinion of agreement. This is not to say the Supreme Court cannot be wrong and my belief is that in a democracy people should be able to speak up when it is, but it cannot merely be shrugged off as individual opinion either that doesn't require any explanation about flaws in the case.

What is more worrisome is the manner in which the article goes on to dismiss the local population as ignorant and disinformed into refusing a better life. I don't know how much experience Ashok Malik has in engaging with rural/backward/remote populations, but in my experience, while it is easy to disinform them to aceept short term profit for longer term loss, it is nearly impossible to do the opposite. It is extremely difficult to get a person to let go of profit visible right now to remain at a disadvantage and that too suffering state brutality, pressure tactics and intimidation in order to do it.

People are not stupid. If a promise will give them a better home and livelihood and also get the state and private militias off their backs, in one fell swoop, they aren't stupid to refuse it just because a few outsiders tell them to. Maybe you could convince a few with conspiracy theories that the advantage was not real. But to convince twelve gram sabhas? That would take a level of gullible that is only possible if you have never really interacted with any rural or tribal populations. Development isn't a mere concept there with variable weight depending on who is arguing. Necessity forces knowledge.

Let us take a look at the knowledge. Odisha currently has the highest income of all the states from mining. So what is the prosperity mining has brought to Odisha that it should do more of the same? What is the prosperity mining has brought anywhere?

To write about economics for the country, economists go "Increase manufacturing! exporting raw materials and importing finished goods will keep India poor." Yet when it comes to getting regions to accept mining, the argument follows the opposite logic and predicts prosperity to come, even if the state is the national leading state in the prescribed activity.

The progressive state's hatred of anyone endorsing rights to anyone outside a tight circule of people with power is hardly a surprise - be it by caste, gender, economic class or social. Yet, it takes a special kind of ignorance to believe that people of the state earning highest revenues from mining need outsiders to explain to them what the consequences of mining are for their livelihoods, displacement and health. Because of course they live conceptual lives and have never seen the realities of mining like an elite theorist has.

And who is supposed to deliver this miracle and at what cost? Vedanta, which has polluted many places already.

I am no fan of NGOs or the cartel state. But I have a special contempt for those who dismiss rights, plight or concerns of Indians - any Indians, anywhere - for profit.

Note: This post does not cite anything issued by the Congress Party or NGOs. None of my posts on the subject do though some cite court judgments against bauxite mining in other countries.

I was on Twitter when the news of the 2G judgment cancelling all the licences from Raja hit. It was HUGE 122 licences scrapped! 3 of Tata, 21 Videocon, 22 Uninor, 9 of Idea, 6 of S-tel, 13 of Swan, 21 of Loop, 21 Sistema Shyam – poof! gone.

Devastation hit the ranks. The instant, knee jerk reactions were all about “foreign investors” and “overseas markets”. India would lose credibility as a market. This sent a bad message to investors, etc etc.

Then the political tweets hit, and the “good side” of the verdict became more visible. Landmark judgment, now does the Congress admit… etc. But more than a political decision, I saw this as a setting of a high standard on the whole subject of corporate favor. Most were furious with Raja, but still used Idea connections. This pulls the curtain on all that. Being part of a corrupt deal is corrupt. Period. This is greater than the myopic – “oh, now the Congress can’t squirm its way out of this”.

In my eyes, this is a date to be recorded in our country’s economic history.

I saw something tremendous happening with India and its economic journey. In a country where perpetrators of the Bhopal Gas tragedy were sheltered by the government to maintain an investment climate, and the government is all but selling people itself to raise money, this was a massive about turn. MASSIVE.

This changes everything. A thousand times more than the Lokpal. This strips the facade that it was only the government that was corrupt. The government-corporate nexus gets called out for what it is, and then slammed unequivocally.

In my eyes, what happens with the 2G licences is still minor in the face of the precedent that was set today. Corporations that collude with the government to bend rules can be devastated any time in the future. In essence, it set the date on taking a sigh of relief at having pulled a “good deal” to an uncompromising “never”. You get caught, you are back to square one, plus your loss.

Today’s Supreme Court judgment is going to haunt every corporate-government deal from now on. No telling what will happen if caught in future. Big incentive to play straight.

I believe that more than justice, this moment is historical in its deterrent. The Supreme Court has put its foot down. Bend the country’s laws to get undue favor, and no matter who you are, no matter how fait accompli your deal is, you will get what is due, when it comes before the court. This brings up hope that the many times the country has been sold short can all be hauled into court and set right, instead of simply voting for a better future and keeping fingers crossed.

This makes any corporation thinking of getting licences/rates/clearances it doesn’t qualify for to think again. It clearly sets a business code for dealing with the country, which is less said, but its impact will have to be considered in every future deal in the country.

Expect to see more hope on mining scams and what nots. This will recharge the fight for people’s rights like nothing else can.

I am happy for the opposition leaders, but this sets a worrying precedent for them too. NO ONE is above the law. Whoever’s turn comes, comes.

The country matters.

And it says one more thing. We are so blinded by stocks and markets and investments, that many of us saw this decision as a bad thing at first sight. Some barely stopped short of accusing the Supreme Court of damaging “national interest” [read "investment climate" - that seems to be what national interest has been reduced to].

It is high time we found a sense of ethics to match the vocal righteousness. The country is growing and you want to be on the right side of history, no?